Diversity delivers ‘competitive advantage’ to employers
It has been said before that if every male in engineering had a female contemporary, the sector’s skills crisis would be solved in an instant, and certainly, with women accounting for only 10 percent of the workforce, such a statement may well have some merit.
It’s a shocking statistic, but one that many experts claim will never be rebalanced unless STEM careers are first made more attractive to women considering them. This may be an approach that needs aggressive adoption, for according to the Royal Academy of Engineers, an additional one million new engineers and technicians will be required by 2020 – a feat that would necessitate a doubling of the yearly intake of graduates and apprentices in these fields.
It’s something that lots of employers are thinking about, for most know that unless the number of apprentices and university students can be increased, UK firms will rapidly be overtaken by industrial powerhouses overseas, with China and India alone capable of outputting hundreds of thousands of new engineers every year.
Undoubtedly, this is opening doors for young women – and rightly so. Encouraging both schools and the industry itself to promote STEM subjects and careers as options not just for boys, but for any young person with the necessary aptitude and interest, it is helping to bring down many of the traditional barriers to diversity.
But more must be done, for the benefit of both the industry itself and talented young ladies everywhere. Inspirational figures such as Caroline Gumble, Chief Operating Officer at the EEF, are making it their mission to do just that, by showing anyone who doubts it how important girls can be to the engineering sector.
As Caroline views it: “It is our responsibility, as the manufacturing leaders of today, to pave the way for tomorrow’s innovators and to show the competitive advantage that diversity delivers.”
She and her contemporaries are doing exactly that, proving by example just how skilled women can be at performing engineering roles. It is her belief that the very best new players are the ones who now need bringing to the fore – male and female alike – for the benefit of the entire industry.
This is a view that we wholeheartedly agree with, so if you think that you could one day be amongst them, get in touch with TTE now to find out more about our apprenticeship schemes – our doors are open wide whenever you’re ready to come on in.‹ Back to News